Luisa sighed. Little dinner plates ringed the tabletop, covered with shreds of chicken, untouched broccoli florets, and fragments of roll. A cup sat by each plate, still half full of milk or water. All the children were off playing, reading, or engaging in other activities leading up to bedtime. Doing something other than eating their dinner.
No doubt the kids would come to her later before bed, telling her they were hungry. Yet here sat plenty of food, ready to plunge down their little throats! They rarely ate until they were full—instead eating just enough to blunt their hunger and then racing off to do the next thing. Every day, Luisa made enough food for them all to fill their stomachs. But they never seemed to do so.
Shaking her head, Luisa scraped some of the food into the garbage. It thumped emphatically against the bottom of the can. She saved what she could and put it in the refrigerator for another day, but the half-eaten scraps wouldn’t be much good. She hated disposing of any of it. It felt like throwing hard-earned money in the garbage can. She wished her kids would appreciate what she gave them and eat all of it instead of being satisfied with nibbles and sips. They could be so much more satisfied if they took the time to really eat.
Fortunately, Luisa had a well-paying job with a high degree of security, so she could keep providing for her children. She had no fears about that. Maybe as they grew they would come to appreciate the amount of nourishment available to them and make use of more of it. In the meantime, Luisa would make sure they had everything they needed and then encourage and even urge them, but never pushing too hard. They would enjoy it more if they chose to eat.
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Luisa could also use the strategy of withdrawal. She could prepare only what she knew they would consume and not give her children what she thought was a full portion. She could continue to cut back until the children finally began to ask for more. See Amos 8:11.
Thinking of that verse, that might apply more if her children were refusing to eat at all or wouldn’t eat anything but junk food (what I would compare to apostasy). For this parable, I was thinking more of the situation where we partake of some of what’s available to us but not all.
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This makes me think of how little time I spend studying the scriptures or praying. I read every day, but only for a few minutes before running off to take care of kids and what-not. I rarely give myself the time to truly feast, even though the scriptures and other resources are instantly available on my phone. I’m sure God is watching me and thinking “you would feel so much better it you’d just read more!”